Wednesday, June 29, 2016

SCOTUS'S YEAR



A full morning resulted in the delay in this blog's posting. Tomorrow's may also be late or early afternoon
 
SCOTUS closed its 2015-16 session with a bang. It was supposed to be the ultra-right’s year. However Scalia’s death and the Republican Senate’s refusal to consider Obama’s Nomination created a new ball game.

Like Congress itself it was felt that the 4:4 political orientation division among the Judges would result in no actions. Never the less SCOTUS adjudicated 80 cases this session.

Among them was at least two important rulings; one by a 5:3 vote with Justice Kennedy joining the liberal bloc the court affirmed a woman’s right of choice when it found that Texas cannot place restrictions on the delivery of abortion services that create an undue burden for women seeking an abortion

Earlier with Justice Kagan abstaining the Court 4:3 upheld the University of Texas’s right to use race as a criteria for admission.

By a 6:2 vote the Court ruled that any law in which domestic violence was a criteria to prohibit owning a gun was illegal.

The 8:0 verdict that vacated the conviction of former Virginia’s Governor under the Hobbs Act will make a reassessment of accepting gifts fin exchange of using influence a criminal act more difficult to prosecute

The Courts’ 4:4 deadlock and referral back to the 5th District Court of Appeals in essence blocked Obama’s DAPA program that would permit immigrants to avoid mandatory expulsion...

By a 5:3 vote SCOTUS held that the search incident to arrest doctrine permits law enforcement to conduct warrantless breath tests but not blood tests on suspected drunk drivers. 

By a 7:1 SCOTUS ruled that in a federal criminal prosecution under the Hobbs Act, the government is not required to prove an interstate commerce element beyond a reasonable doubt. The basis of this decision was a 2005 ruling where Congress may ban the use of marijuana even where states approve its use for medicinal purposes.

Also 5:3 the Court upheld the right of search if a valid arrest warrant that is outstanding is discovered at the time the individual is stopped.

And by a 6:2 vote in a case involving a Paterson NJ policeman who was demoted because he had picked up a lawn sign, the Court held that a public employee's constitutional rights might be violated when an employer disciplines them for the belief that the employee was engaging in protected speech, even if the employee never actually exercised their constitutional rights.

The next court term starts in October. It is sad that our court system is a political football and politics as always determine the law of the land.

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